With Diego Chaves' visa situation still not quite sorted out, Top Rank does have a replacement opponent on hand to face Brandon Rios on Saturday night, if the Argentine Chaves cannot get to the United States in time. If Chaves fails to make the fight, then Mexico's Jose Zepeda, an unbeaten junior welterweight, will step in for the HBO bout.
"The issue is not with Chaves but it's with a worldwide f-up with the state department with their computer going down. There's backlog now of three quarters of a million visas that they can't get their website working to process and for these visas to be released. There are hundreds of thousands people in China waiting for their tourist visas and it's a mess. So we're giving it until (Tuesday) to see if there's a change. Now, if Chaves can get his visa by tomorrow, then we're okay. But if not, we're going to substitute this kid who is on the card and this Mexican kid, Zepeda will take his spot."
Zepeda (19-0, 16 KO) is a 25-year-old California fighter who last fought on April 26, beating veteran Robert Frankel via eight-round decision in Port Hueneme. Frankel is right about the top level of the opposition he's faced, and he's only gone even the eight rounds that one time, but it's a situation where Rios (31-2-1, 23 KO) needs to get back in the ring, and it's not as if they tried to match him soft. Chaves (23-1, 19 KO) is a banger and a legitimate welterweight. This is just an unfortunate situation all around.